Typical Startup Experience

via Wired, Zapicks and Gizmodo.

This video reminds me of the standard progression of most startups.  You start off confident, you gain speed.

You get a little overconfident and try to go up the side of the hill, you flip (or pivot) and then you began a fast paced descent.

Perhaps you’re running out of funding, you have internal founder fights, or a competitor has come along when you fumbled (think Digg vs Reddit), then the next thing you know:

The snowmobile is barreling down the hill after you about to crush you (think of when Twitter changed the Rules on Twitter Client Developers, you pivot again, and now you’re chasing the snow mobile down the hill (Taking more Risks) trying to Salvage what’s left of you dream.

Unfortunately most Startup Trajectories don’t have the happy ending that this brave adventerour did.

Good and bad advice, Identity and storytelling

“many of the stories we tell about ourselves are wrong”.

— Heidi Grant


Anyone who has a strong sense of IDENTITY has it because of the stories they tell themselves about themselves. Often instead of writing their own stories, people accept others stories about themselves. This might be their spouse’s or their parents negative comments, A teacher who writes them, or later a judge who confuses their mistakes with their core character, or even something as innocuos as their favorite news pundit who is describing the world they beleive they see.  Someone who is story-permeable, might not be comfortable with their middle class life, and have aspirations of moving up into the world of the rich and famous.  Even thought the chances are slim to none that they will change their economic class in their lifetime,  they might hear a story about a group of people (the rich and famous) and Identify with that group.

This can lead people into really weird territory where they’re making less than 80k but feel the Bush Tax cuts are for them becuase one day they’re hoping to be rich and wouldn’t want to pay higher taxes.  People might spent 20 years in middle level management at a large company but they feel like a startup pioneer. Or even stronger disagreements between fact and story can occur when an semi-successful entrepeneur is running a startup that is crashing and burning, but they are convinced that they are uniquely capable of “pulling it off”.   I think the most common example of this inner story – outer reality divide is the person who continuosly makes BAD decisions that lead to terrible consequences (divorce, jail, unemployment) but are telling themselves that they can’t catch a break or that the world is set against them.  We all know someone like this, there is a specific name for the tendency:  Selfvictimization

In my opinion the primary difference between people who feel REALLY good about themselves and are succesful, versus people that feel helpless is that they have taken control of the stories that they tell themselves, they examine these stories, the stories are based in geniuine self- reflection and the story teller’s have owned them. This is how a 45 year old divorced man who is late in his career achieving some success might reconcile his life and gain strength. Instead of seeing his life as a series of failures, he can tell his story as a string of obstacles that have been overcome (I’m 39 so that’s not a self reference).. In any case, my advice is to own your stories, make sure they’re somewhat true and read the linked piece above the science of Advice Giving.


It’s what you don’t know you don’t know that matters.


The presence of commutativity in the positive and multiplying operations and it’s absence in the negative and dividing operations, implies something fundamental about the universe and it’s origins.


This is a large Zonohedron.  They are generated from Minkowski sum’s which are by definition commutative and associative.

It’s a spiritual principle for me.


Of course this doesn’t discount the value of editing or the virtues of subtraction in design, but like The Force in Star Wars, the negative operations that lessen and remove are far more powerful and should be used with discretion lest you become a consumer and a worshipped of the void.